Seeing Your Travel Business Through New Eyes (Part 3)

Where the Written Report has Value…The written report does have its place. The goal usually is to have a written document to pass around to people who are above you in the organization and who will have no first-hand contact with the consultant. A subsidiary goal is to have a tangible product so that you can justify to your boss the cost of the consultant.If you are rigorous when you specify what you require of the consultant, you might be able to finesse the need for a written report. For example, you might save a big chunk of the consultant’s fee, if instead of insisting on a written report, you elicit a commitment from those above you in the organization to participate in, or at least to attend, the consultant’s debriefing. This approach can have a huge indirect benefit in that that your consultant’s contributions are plugged directly into your company’s power structure.Of course, the powers that be may not be willing to make that commitment. In that case, I personally would decline the job for it would seem to me that I would simply be writing a trivial composition for the company archives.Consultants Provide a Competitive EdgeConsultants represent one of the most important untapped resources available to small and medium size agencies, and in the current competitive environment the failure to tap every available resource could be fatal. If you really understand your own business and can express it to another person, then you have what you need to get value from an outside expert.Follow these four basic rules:
1. Have a clear purpose and product in mind.
2. Be clear about whose data are to be used.
3. Be sure the person responsible for the consultant is up to working with him as an equal.
4. Keep the final presentation and report to a minimum.You will find that you can get an amazing amount of value for a surprisingly low fee. It works for the largest, most sophisticated buyers: why shouldn’t it work for you?